Are You Suffering?
Suffering. I read something a while ago about not using that word, and I've been thinking about it since. I completely agree that it isn't wise to use it indiscriminately to say something like, "They are suffering with _____." Maybe some people are, but others aren't. That's 100% true.
Of course, not everyone's experience of suffering is the same. It goes without saying that not suffering is perceived by others. And one person's might suffer when someone else in the same situation feels joy.
On the other hand, to avoid using the word risks minimizing someone's experience. For instance, I suffer from/with erythromelalgia. I just do. It causes pain, anguish, and fatigue. When I get a migraine, I'm suffering. If I were to suggest that I did not suffer, I would be lying.
That's not to say suffering is my only experience of EM. I don't always suffer, and sometimes I have mixed emotions even during my worst flares. Pain and suffering are not synonymous.
There are similar phrases that people use without thinking, like "confined to a wheelchair." When I use a wheelchair, I'm not confined to it. A wheelchair gives me mobility and access that I wouldn't otherwise have.
The word and idea of "suffering" is similar. I'll be much more aware of how to use and not use the word.
Major religious traditions recognize the role of suffering in our lives. It's even the First Noble Truth of the Buddha. "The reality of dukkha." During the next few days, Christians commemorate the suffering of Jesus on Good Friday.
What about you? Do you suffer? And what are your thoughts about using the word "suffering?" At minimum, suffering is complex. Thanks!
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